1-3/4 cups (7 oz.) Sargento® Traditional Cut Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
8 (1/2-inch) slices French bread baguette
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add potatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 to 14 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Transfer 1 cup of the mixture to a blender or food processor; pureé until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir in milk; heat over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Season to taste with salt.
Meanwhile, place bread on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toast lightly in a preheated 400°F toaster oven or oven 5 minutes. Turn toasts over; top with 1/2 cup of the cheese and pepper. Continue to bake 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Ladle soup into four bowls; top with remaining cheese and bacon, if desired. Serve with cheese toasts.